How to Clean Vomit From Wood Floors

Yecch...vomit! Whether it's from your dog, cat or a human member of the family, its worst characteristic -- as far as your floors are concerned -- is its acidity. The sooner you get it off your hardwood, the better the chances avoiding finish dulling or worse. The best cleaner for neutralizing vomit odors is another acid -- albeit a more benign one ... vinegar.

Don't Wipe That Stuff -- Soak It Up

Wiping the biohazard with a rag or sponge may force some through the joints between flooring boards and create a whole other set of problems. Use one of these techniques instead:

  • Dab it with a sponge or absorbent rag.
  • Let it soak into a handful of paper towels.
  • Cover it with cat litter then immediately pick up the litter with a dustpan.

Wash Residue With Vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid -- which is why it tastes sour -- and it can also have a dulling effect on a hardwood floor finish. Its abilities to clean and disinfect trump that minor peril when vomit is involved, but to be on the safe side, avoid using it full-strength:

Step 1

Mix 1/2 or 1 cup of vinegar with a quart of warm water. Soak a rag in the solution, then wring it out thoroughly. It's never safe to wash a hardwood floor with a wet rag.

Step 2

Wipe the residue from the floor, dipping and wringing the rag as many times as necessary.

Step 3

Rinse the floor with a rag dampened with clear water.

Step 4

Dry the area with a clean, dry rag.